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President Donald Trump began Jan. 6th, the day Congress is slated to count the electoral votes from the 2020 election, by posting a tweet encouraging Vice President Mike Pence to come through for him and throw a wrench in the counting process.
As vice president, Pence will have the job of making the final 2020 election declaration after Congress has officially tallied the electoral votes from each state.
“Typically, in a joint session of Congress, the vice president opens the envelopes from each state containing the results that determine which candidate got that state’s electoral votes,” PolitiFact notes.
“These results, in the form of official certificates, have been signed and sealed. The vice president opens each one, hands them to four members from the House and Senate who read the results out loud, and at the end, the vice president announces the final tally.”
The president believes that by choosing to not participate, Pence could derail the entire process and force the electoral votes back to their respective states for the time being.
“If Vice President @Mike_Pence comes through for us, we will win the Presidency. Many States want to decertify the mistake they made in certifying incorrect & even fraudulent numbers in a process NOT approved by their State Legislatures (which it must be). Mike can send it back!” he tweeted.
If Vice President @Mike_Pence comes through for us, we will win the Presidency. Many States want to decertify the mistake they made in certifying incorrect & even fraudulent numbers in a process NOT approved by their State Legislatures (which it must be). Mike can send it back!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 6, 2021
This desire for Pence to obstruct the process is shared by over 100 state legislators.
According to investigative reporter John Solomon, late Tuesday the state legislators submitted “various letters” to Pence asking him to delay the counting of electoral votes so that an audit of the 2020 presidential election can be conducted.
“We write to ask you to comply with our reasonable request to afford our nation more time to properly review the 2020 election by postponing the January 6th opening and counting of the electoral votes for at least 10 days, affording our respective bodies to meet, investigate, and as a body vote on certification or decertification of the election,” one letter reportedly read.
The unnamed state legislators who penned the letter “attached an appendix listing irregularities and illegalities in the battleground states where Trump has contested the election results showing Biden the winner,” according to Solomon.
“We intend on fulfilling our oaths of office by properly investigating and determining whether the election should be certified, or decertified, by our respective state legislatures. Additional time must be afforded for the legislatures to meet and for state legislators to fulfill their constitutional duties,” they added.
This particular letter was reportedly organized by Got Freedom, the non-profit election integrity watchdog that had organized a call late last week with the president and 300 state lawmakers, though according to Solomon’s sources, dozens of other state legislators sent their own “individual or group letters” as well.
This desire is also shared by a number of House and Senate Republicans, most notably Sen. Ted Cruz.
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) January 2, 2021
In a joint public statement published last week, a group of prominent Senate Republicans and their incoming Sen.-elect peers also called for a 10-day delay.
In explaining why a delay and subsequent audit are necessary, the group — led by Sen. Cruz — cited concerns about the election results’ legitimacy.
“The election of 2020, like the election of 2016, was hard-fought and, in many swing states, narrowly decided. The 2020 election, however, featured unprecedented allegations of voter fraud, violations and lax enforcement of election law, and other voting irregularities,” they said.
“Voter fraud has posed a persistent challenge in our elections, although its breadth and scope are disputed. By any measure, the allegations of fraud and irregularities in the 2020 election exceed any in our lifetimes.”
Their solution is the same as their state counterparts — a 10-day delay so that Congress can “appoint an Electoral Commission, with full investigatory and fact-finding authority to conduct an emergency 10-day audit of the election returns in the disputed states.”
Even if Pence chooses to just go along with the process, these Senate Republicans — as well as some of their peers in the House — intend to file their own challenge on Wednesday.
The process will involve lawmakers from particular states raising objections when their states come up in the tally, according to senior Trump campaign adviser Jason Miller.
“As they start doing the electoral roll call, and Vice President Pence is opening up the envelopes, when you get to Arizona – which will be the third state – we’ll see…Congressman [Paul] Gosar from Arizona, Congressman [Andy] Biggs stand up and deliver the specific concerns they have with Arizona’s electoral results,” he explained earlier this week on Fox Business Network.
— Bo Snerdley (@BoSnerdley) January 5, 2021
But it’s unlikely these objections alone will be enough to stop the process without Pence’s assistance, ergo why the president feels it’s necessary that he “comes through for us.”
The problem is that Pence himself doesn’t believe he has the authority to delay the counting process.
In a statement Tuesday, Pence’s chief of staff, Marc Short, summarily dismissed a claim by Trump administration official Peter Navarro, made days earlier, that the VP does have the authority to delay the process.
“Peter Navarro is many things. He is not a constitutional scholar,” Short pithily said to The Wall Street Journal.
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